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America and Affirmative Action Affirmative action has been the subject of increasing debate and tension in American society However the debate over affirmative action has become ensnared in rhetoric that pits equality of opportunity against the equality of results The debate has been more emotional than intellectual and has generated more tension than shed light on the issue Participants in the debate have over examined the ethical and moral issues that affirmative action raises while forgetting to scrutinize the system that has created the need for them Too often affirmative action is looked upon as the panacea for a nation once ill with but now cured of the virulent disease of racial discrimination Affirmative action is and should be seen as a temporary partial and perhaps even flawed remedy for past and continuing discrimination against historically marginalized and disenfranchised groups in American society Working as it should it affords groups greater equality of opportunity in a social context marked by substantial inequalities and structural forces that impede a fair assessment of their capabilities Perhaps the biggest complaint that one hears about affirmative action policies aimed at helping Black Americans is that they violate the 14th Amendment of the Constitution and the Civil Rights laws The claim is that these programs distort what is now a level playing field and bestow preferential treatment on understanding minorities because of the color of their skin While this view seems very logical on the surface many contend that it lacks any historical support and is aimed more at preserving existing White privilege than establishing equality of opportunity for all Any cursory look at the history of this country should provide a serious critique to the idea of a level playing field Since the birth of this nation Blacks have been enslaved oppressed and exploited people Until 1954 when the Supreme Court handed down Brown v Board Blacks were legally pushed to the
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